The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Feb. 3 reversed a Pre-Trial Chamber decision that denied the application for an arrest warrant on genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The reversal was procedural, and did not address the question of whether al-Bashir is responsible for genocide.
In its March 2009 decision, the Pre-Trial Chamber required the prosecution to demonstrate al-Bashir’s genocidal intent using the “proof by inference” standard. The Appeals Chamber held that the standard used was inappropriate for the arrest warrant phase, but declined to actually order the Pre-Trial Chamber to issue a genocide warrant for al-Bashir, as requested by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. The case has now been remanded back to the Pre-Trial Chamber to reconsider whether there was “reasonable grounds to believe” that al-Bashir acted with genocidal intent.
ICC prosecutors appealed the decision not to charge al-Bashir with genocide in July. The warrant, which charges al-Bashir with seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, has been controversial, with Egypt, Sudan, the African Union and others calling for the proceedings against al-Bashir to be delayed, and African Union leaders agreeing not to cooperate with the ruling. Al-Bashir is accused of systematically targeting and purging the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups from their lands in Darfur under the pretext of counterinsurgency since 2003. (Jurist, Feb. 3)
See our last post on Sudan.